Joshua D. Colin
VP, Area Operations, United States Post Office
MY GREATEST STRENGTH
I believe my greatest strength is my ability to communicate effectively with Postal Service employees, teaching and coaching them to drive performance. This benefits the organization because well-coached employees produce good results that can be easily seen and acted on by the Postal Service’s senior leaders.
We interface daily with each executive to keep the focus on the core principles of leadership, budget, service, and employee development. We also meet daily with our supervisors to ensure they are communicating well with our employees who process the mail.
WHO INSPIRES ME
I have had numerous mentors in the Postal Service who have provided me with leadership opportunities, which has led to my professional growth.
However, from a motivation standpoint, I would have to say my mother provided me with core principles and values that have benefited me throughout my life. I have tried to stay true to those faith-based values.
One of the things we do in our organization to motivate employees is we send out a Daily Message of Focus. We affectionately call it “Dr. Colin’s Prescription for Success.” It is a message that hits every email in our Eastern Area, containing words of encouragement and quotes from past and present leaders in this great country. I often receive feedback telling me that our employees use these “daily prescriptions” for motivation at home as well as at work.
The other area I focus on is keeping our data and our employees at the forefront. It’s all about how we treat our people and how we can keep them engaged.
A major motivating factor is our striving for diversity and inclusion in the work place. In the Postal Service, this means creating and providing an inclusive environment that recognizes and values the richness of people’s different viewpoints, experiences, cultures, and backgrounds.
We identify new and innovative ways to attract, engage, and retain high-performing diverse talent to drive organizational performance. In order to succeed in this increasingly competitive global marketplace, ensuring we have a world class Diversity & Inclusion program is essential to motivating employees, and to our success as an organization.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE
I think one of the greatest issues facing communities of color is a difficulty capitalizing on opportunities within our own communities. Although we have an African-American president, inclusion and diversity have come a long way, and people of color have progressed, we cannot relax and believe our work is done.
We have to continue coaching and mentoring individuals in our communities to strive to be the best they can be. We have to keep faith, strive for higher education, treat dignity and respect as core values…and we must continue to work hard each day.
HOW I GIVE BACK
For the past 20 years, I have been involved with an organization called APLUS (African American Postal League United for Success). This organization has inclusive core principles of mentoring and coaching all individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity.
First and foremost, my faith and beliefs and values drive me. I was raised in an environment where God came first in every aspect of our lives. I try to keep those values and principles each day. No one is perfect, so I am not lecturing here, what I am saying is that all things work together for good. I have always been a believer in staying humble, treating people with respect, and always staying in touch with how people are treated.
Another lesson I have learned is the importance of a good education, which helps keep me grounded and learning daily. We all need to have a good education in order to balance the ledger.
BALANCING MY LIFE
I believe I am getting better at maintaining balance. My wife and my children provide me with balance and grounding just by seeing them each day.
This has not always been the case, as frequent travel and taking on greater levels of responsibility over the years has been a challenge for me and my family. I am grateful that my wife has continued to be a strong partner and willing leader within our family to help keep the balance when I am not around.
I have learned that I am not perfect, even though I try to be. We all make mistakes. They just can’t be serious in my profession. I also have learned that regardless of how approachable and coachable I try to be, we will always have opposing views that we have to learn to not take personally.
My advice to a newcomer is to treat people the way you want to be treated. Have a goal in mind about your career and plan it out. Take on the tough assignments to gain a platform for professional exposure. We have to be 100 times better all the time. We have to keep driving—pushing ourselves to be much smarter than the competition.
Most important, keep your family, faith, and educational pursuits at the forefront of all of your life decisions. Have faith in yourself and lean on those around you for support. Work hard and believe in yourself, and you will go far.